4 Things I Wish I Did Right After College

right after college

“Shoulda, woulda, coulda”. We all have moments in our lives that we wish we could do differently, or alter somehow. In the end, though, all we can do is plan for a better future, right?

Personally, there are plenty of opportunities I did not take right after college that I wish I had. Now that I’m older, I appreciate the things that I took for granted at the time, things like internships, living at home, and the opportunity to start a side gig.

Despite this, I am ultimately grateful for the path I did take. Otherwise I wouldn’t be here relaying all my mistakes to 24 Seven readers in hopes they make wiser choices! Trust me, if I knew then what I know now I would have done quite a few things differently like…

#1 Pursued an internship

Once you enter the real world, you will quickly realize that experience is an invaluable quality. Real-life, hands-on experience is what sets you apart from other candidates when applying for a job fresh out of college. The best way to get this experience? Through an internship.

As I was going to school to be a teacher, in the back of my mind I thought, ‘I’ll just graduate with a degree and get a job at Chanel’. Little did I know that getting an internship at a luxury fashion brand is extremely difficult, let alone trying to get hired full-time with no experience!

Internships are the best introduction to any industry you may have an interest in. You not only get your first taste of the working world, you also get to learn the ropes of the field you’re hoping to get into. You may also realize at this time that what you thought you wanted isn’t actually all that great when you’re living it.It is so important to learn as much as you can about a company, starting from the bottom all the way to the top, because you gain a greater understanding and appreciation. This knowledge will in turn, help you properly align yourself so you can build your resume to get the dream job you want out of school.

#2 Got a recruiter

A recruiter is something I didn’t even know existed until I came to 24 Seven looking for a job! I was under the impression you had to pay a recruiter to help find you a job and as a recent grad I did not have the money for something like that. Now I know it’s quite the opposite and recent grads are high in demand at a recruitment agency.

As a recent grad or someone about to graduate, your skills are fresh, you’re ambitious, and you’re ready to take on whatever challenges are thrown at you. Companies strongly take this into consideration when they’re hiring, but one might not know that unless you worked with a recruiter.

#3 Learned more about freelancing

Our 2016 Salary Survey reported 22% of Freelancers will increase their rates between 10-20%, we can only imagine what the stats will be next year, (take our 2017 survey today)! Freelancing is the next major wave on the job front and it is a great way to get your foot in the door of any industry right after college. Typically the relationships you form from freelancing will help carry you throughout your career.

One of the biggest challenges I  found when I was fresh out of college was building the right connections. But if you learn about #2 sooner rather than later, you’ll learn recruiters have all the connections you need. In fact, it’s their job!

#4 Saved my money

Saving your money is a key component upon entering the “real world” on your own. You need money for living expenses like food, rent, and home necessities. You also need money to fund any side gigs or potentially further your career through online courses.

You also need to have money saved in case you don’t land a job right out of college. When you start saving money while you’re in college, this will set you up for later in life when you start thinking about retirement, starting a family, etc. A saving account will give you a nice emergency cushion to fall back on so you can take the time to figure out where you really want to be rather than rushing to any job that comes your way.

 

It’s never too late to change direction or uproot your current career path, even if you’re well out of college. The sooner you figure out what direction you want to go, the sooner recruiting companies like 24 Seven can help you get there.

Are you a recent grad or in college? If so, check out our job openings today! 

Written by: Brittany Johnston

Career Over Coffee: Moz Founder & SEO Consultant Rand Fishkin

careerovercoffee_moz_randfishkin

SEO this, Google ranking that. It seems today that if you want to stand out in any industry you need to know about SEO! Whether you’re a job seeker, world renowned brand, or entrepreneur, Moz’s founder, Rand Fishkin offers insider SEO information you don’t want to miss.

Q: Briefly describe your background. 

I used to be in web design, but wasn’t very good at it. After some nasty debts and some poor business decisions in the early 2000s, I pivoted to SEO consulting, and then SEO software/tools in 2007.

I’ve been in Seattle my entire life, and that’s where we built Moz’s business. Technically, I was born in New Jersey, but my parents moved out west when I was 3 months old, so Seattle’s really the only home I’ve known.

I’m also a college dropout, which I suppose is a popular choice with entrepreneurs these days 🙂

Q: How has SEO proved beneficial to your career, what specific ways has your business grown because of SEO?

Moz has definitely eaten its own dogfood. Early on with our website, I began writing about topics in the SEO world, and discovered I had knack for making complicated topics easy to understand. That skill enabled me to build up a large amount of content on our website that earned rankings, links, shares, and engagement, helping us rank well in Google, which began driving thousands of visitors from search each day over to Moz.com. These days, we’re getting north of 3 million visits a month, and about 30% of those come from search!

SEO is awesomely powerful because it sends people who are looking for something precise right to the page on your site that can help serve them. That traffic is often much more highly engaged than other forms of referring traffic (like social media), and much more likely to convert.

Q: Best practices for SEO are always evolving, how do you stay current on the tricks of the trade?

I read. A lot! And of course, at Moz, we also have large scale data tracking efforts like Mozcast.com that let us see what’s changing in the search results, as well as a rich community of contributors and SEO professionals asking and answering questions every day. Following some good SEO folks on Twitter is also immensely helpful to me.

Q: SEO can be very confusing especially for anyone new to marketing, do you have any suggestions on getting your feet wet?

First off, I’d make sure that SEO is something you’re willing to invest a lot of time and energy in (or a lot of resources for a good consultant or hire). SEO is a very competitive practice – there are only a few spots on Google’s first page, and the organizations that invest heavily are going to be the ones that win, so this isn’t an area you can skimp on. If you do decide to focus on SEO, be patient – results take a long time. That’s because you need to create compelling content that earns engagement, a brand that earns links, a process that becomes a flywheel for ranking signals, and often, a lot of technical investments into your site, too.

If all that is something you’re ready for, check out this free Beginner’s Guide to SEO or, if you prefer video, I filmed a free SEO class with Skillshare that may be useful.

Q: What are you reading?

The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro. I almost always stick to fiction.

Q: Do you have any examples of companies you’ve seen succeed because of their SEO strategy?

Absolutely! Yelp, Tripadvisor, Amazon, Metacritic, Findlaw, Realself, Avvo, RetailMeNot, and hundreds of others sites have built their customer acquisition base on SEO.

 

What’s your biggest challenge or question when it comes to SEO? Tell us in the comments!

Written by: Brittany Johnston

3 Things to Consider Before Taking a New Job

things to consider before taking a new job

When you feel valued, respected, and fulfilled in your job, it is natural that you will be inclined to tell your friends, about your job satisfaction (which is great news for employers). After all, many adult conversations usually go along the lines of, “How are you? How’s work?”

We want to be able to brag about our jobs, not complain about them, but how do we get to this point?

Before you accept a job make sure you understand the responsibilities of the position, the company’s mission, and the cultural environment to ensure your happiness in the role. Our annual Salary Survey revealed that 74% of workers reported authenticity as a top aspect of company culture. So, here are 3 things to consider before taking a new job:

#1 Make sure your best interests are at heart

No one wants to feel like they’re another cog in the corporate wheel. Employees want to feel like the companies they work for really care about them.

So how do you go about finding this ideal company? Well, like most problems, start at the beginning. During an interview, ask questions that will give you a feel for the corporate environment. You can ask questions like how involved is the CEO? Or, what role do employees play in shaping the company? When you work for a company that is driven by its employees, your performance will be at its peak and the company culture will be solid.

Be clear about your professionals goals, and make sure they match the opportunities available to you in this new position.

When you see current employees giving their best, read positive company reviews, and get the answers you’ve been looking for, you can rest assured knowing you’ve found a company match.

#2 Assess empathy level

Every employee has a story and every employee is going to experience challenges in both their professional and personal lives. You want to find a company that is willing to show compassion and empathy toward these situations. Pinterest, for example, offers new parents the chance to ease back into a work schedule that suits them and their new family.

As hard as we might try to keep our professional and personal life separate, the reality today is that we’re experiencing more of a work/life blend. This may be why 79% of workers reported a company’s attitude toward work/life balance impacts company culture substantially.

Another great way to find out about a company’s level of empathy is to ask what the interviewer loves most about his/her job. The answer will tell you about the types of people employed there as well as the company overall. If you can form a meaningful relationship during the interview, it’s likely that this feeling will translate to the company as a whole.

#3 Ask about autonomy

Nothing is worse than feeling constrained at work. How creative you can be on a project, what you can say on social media, and how you’re expected to interact with customers and coworkers varies from company to company. Granted, there is a degree of professional etiquette you must maintain at work, but you  still want to be able to express yourself freely to some degree. You want to work for an employer who trusts you to be “on brand” in your own way.

When employers give the option for autonomy, it’s empowering. When we feel empowered, we produce our best work which in turn creates a positive and successful work environment.

The potential of a new job is exciting, and terrifying at the same time. You want to make the best decision for yourself and carefully examine the areas that contribute to your happiness. Of course, there are many other things to consider before taking a new job but sometimes the less obvious aspects turn out to be the most important.

 

What do you consider before taking a job? Tell us about it in the comments!

 

Written by: Brittany Johnston

4 Places to Learn New Skills Without Going Back to School

where to learn new skills

If you’re anything like me, you too probably assumed once you graduated college you’d never have to hit the books again. However, I have learned that while I don’t necessarily have to hit the books, I do have to continually learn and grow so my skills don’t become outdated.  Social media sites like LinkedIn see the value in education which may have attributed to their recent acquisition of Lynda – a business, technology, and creative skills enhancing program. It is clear in today’s job market if you want to stand out and be successful, you need to keep your finger on the pulse of the market, whatever market that may be, and learn new skills so you won’t get left behind as we mentioned back in March.

Even more interesting, our annual Job Market Report found that the majority of employees are hungry for new skills. In fact, 91% of workers are taking it upon themselves to stay sharp due partially to the fact that only 47% of companies offer professional development. If this is the case for you, don’t panic! 24 Seven has got you covered with 4 outstanding places to learn new skills without going back to school.

Creative Live

Creative Live is a creative’s playhouse with classes created by industry experts. There are over 1,500 classes to choose from in topics ranging from photo/video, art/design, music/audio, craft/maker, and money/life. Creative Live even offers free classes and include the top paid classes for  your industry on the homepage. Students are encouraged to write reviews in order to help fully explain what you’re getting into before you fully commit. This is really the place to be if you want to step up your side gig or gain more skills for your 9-5.

Kode with Klossy

Talk about a true super model! Karlie Kloss developed a platform for women to learn how to code regardless of their age or level of experience. Kode with Klossy is educational, empowering, and  a great networking opportunity for women looking to break into the tech space and connect with other like-minded people. During the 800-hour course, you have access to 700 lessons that you can take at your own pace.  The Kode with Klossy site says it takes students anywhere from 4 months to a year to complete the course.

Karlie Kloss isn’t the only one who knows it’s cool to code. Our Salary Survey reported the most in-demand jobs in 2016, (design, UX/UI, developers, etc.) require knowledge of coding. One way to stay in demand this year is with Karlie’s class.

Highbrow

With apps like Snapchat and Instastories, our attention spans are getting shorter and shorter, which is probably why Highbrow has been so successful. Highbrow is a micro-learning program that sends 5-minute lessons straight to your email. Not only is this  great for people with limited time, all the courses are also free!

It is said that we learn best through teaching others, so if that’s the case for you, Highbrow also allows you to create your own course. Highbrow’s unique learning system is one you won’t forget.

Udemy

Udemy may be the most well known eLearning platform for individuals and businesses alike. You’ll browse courses presented by names like Gary Vaynerchuk and Seth Godin. Udemy has a wide arena of topics ranging from development, business, marketing, photography, language, health/fitness. Out of all of the sites mentioned, you get the most variety from Udemy. You also get a range of free and paid courses to choose from.

No matter how old you are or how experienced you are, if you don’t strive to learn new skills or strengthen your current skillset, you can always improve. There are always new ways to grow and new experiences to be had, all of which are now made possible any time online. So, what are you waiting for?

 

How do you keep your skills sharp? Have you tried any of these courses? Tell us about your experience in the comments!

 

Written by: Brittany Johnston

Career Over Coffee: Vince Camuto Vice President Sonia Zarbatany

CAREER OVER COFEE SONIA ZARBATANY

We’ve been chatting a lot with influencers in the digital world and I am happy to announce that today we get a chance to pick the brain of the vice president of fashion powerhouses Vince Camuto and Sanctuary, Sonia Zarbatany. Grab your notepads, Sonia has an inspiring story to tell with lots of career insight.

Q: Briefly describe your background.

I was born in Morocco and raised in Montreal. I was groomed for the fashion industry from the day I could walk. My family business has been in North American licensees and distributors of International fashion brands such as Guess Jeans, XOXO, Kathy van Zeeland and more.

I have worked in every pocket of the fashion world—from fit model to administrative work, sales and management, and now, as co-owner of Zarby International and Executive Vice-President of Vince Camuto Canada  and Sanctuary Canada. I have always had my hand in the business world as well as my fair share of other experiences.

I have other businesses that I develop alongside my main position; for example, and I am a partner at Flex Meals—a delicious and healthy meal delivery service. I am also a public speaker and life coach as I speak in seminars on how to find balance, live on purpose and take your career to the next level.

Q: What do you base the majority of your hiring on? Experience? Personality? Cover letter?

All of the above. Obviously, before I meet people, their CV and cover letter have to stand out.

Once, we get to the interview phase, personality definitely drives it home. I typically hire someone based on their confidence and attitude, work ethic, and desire to get the position.

I like to see someone who is dressed on brand and has taken the time to research my company and what we are about. In this day and age, where information is so readily available, anyone who wants a job anywhere, should take the time and go the extra mile. And, like I said, have great confidence and a positive attitude.

Q: How has networking helped build your career?

That’s a great question. A good network goes a long way. It is so important to know people in your field and to connect with them. Having a professional community is one of the best-kept secrets of the trade.

I try to get the word out when I give talks about how valuable knowing the right people truly is. Every day I meet new people that have significantly contributed to the fashion world or life coaching, and we lift each other up, we play off one another, we brainstorm creative and innovative ideas together. I mean, that’s what business is all about.

Q: How can someone looking to change careers break into a field with no prior experience?

First of all, it’s never too late to change it up. If your current career isn’t giving you the challenge or excitement you want, then switch it up. One way to break in is to work from the bottom up. It’s the long and hard way, but it’s tried, tested and true.

Another way is to just get out there and hustle. You can try recruitment agencies like 24 Seven, or you can network by connecting with people at events, on blog forums or other platforms that allow you to get your voice and ideas heard.

I think certain industries are harder than others, and experience definitely plays a large part in that and so do the right connections. So, if you don’t have the physical experience then be knowledgeable, be a trendsetter, and set yourself apart from the pack.

Q: Who is your business/career mentor? And what do you admire most about this person?

My mother has always been a positive and loving person. She has been a great mentor and guiding light to me in moments when I need her most. My father has also been a mentor for teaching me how to be tough, strong, and how to run a successful business.

Other mentors have been Tony Robbins, and Tony Litster, for getting me on my first stage and helping me develop my gift and fall in love with coaching. Bruce Makowsky for showing me how to sell and brand in the most powerful way.

Mentors are so extremely important to me. I’ve had many and will hopefully continue to meet more wonderful people who will influence both my way of thinking and my way of seeing the world.

 

Do you have any questions for Sonia? If so, drop us a line and we’ll be sure to answer!

Written by: Brittany Johnston (24 Seven Marketing Assistant)

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